This award recognizes outstanding public art projects, interpretive signs, or other creative structures associated with trail-related improvements.
The Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio boasts the first urban rail-trail conversion in the City, the Morgana Run Trail.
The project, while benefiting the area in all the ways we all know that well designed and built trails do, has also spurred wonderful works of public art. The largest mural in Cleveland proudly adorned the side of a business right along the trail, as does another mural less than one trail mile east of the first. But the trailhead on East 49th Street has stood as an opportunity for the neighborhood and the trail to reach a larger audience.
The trailhead overlooks Interstate 77 and the thousands of commuters and travelers that use it every day. As part of the public art program for the Morgana Run Trail Slavic Village Development, Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks collaborated to develop a distinguishing marker for the East 49th Street Trailhead. It was through the amazing cooperation and efforts of these three organizations that this project was possible.
Slavic Village Development (SVD) is a non-profit community development organization. Working in the neighborhood for decades SVD has developed projects dealing with real estate development, housing, active living and numerous other community building and enhancement projects. Cleveland Public Art is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life and enhancing the economic competitiveness of Cleveland and its surrounding communities through the highest quality, site- specific public art and creative urban design. ParkWorks is a Cleveland non-profit that develops and expands the use of public space to promote neighborhood revitalization.
For the trailhead, Slavic Village Development was looking for a marker that would be an inspiring piece of artwork while also serving to identify the entrance to the trail. The trailhead is in view of Interstate 77, which runs immediately parallel to 49th Street, providing yet another purpose for the artwork—it will call the attention of tens of thousands of daily passersby to the trail and Slavic Village.
Local artist Jake Beckman designed a 35 foot tall flower sculpture which is now holding court at the trailhead. The sculpture is simply amazing being comprised of a steel “stem” topped by bicycle wheel “petals” which are illuminated at night with super high efficiency LED lights. The flower was designed by Mr. Beckman and fabricated by Signature Sign Company of Cleveland.
Through this partnership funding was secured by Slavic Village Development from Neighborhood Progress Inc. and ParkWorks through the St. Lukes Foundation. Cleveland Public Art started a call for proposals from local artists, and the collaboration selected the sculpture as the winning piece. Slavic Village Development secured the needed easements for the sculpture and facilitated the installation of electricity to illuminate the piece. The collaboration of the three nominated groups oversaw the construction process and installation.
The collaboration between the nominees to get an art project like this done also serve as a great example for the trail community at large. The commitment shown to beautiful public art throughout the trail building and design process in Slavic Village is truly inspiring and deserves to be highlighted and shared with the greater trail community.
2015: City of Redmond
2013: High Trestle Trail Steering Committee and Partners
2008: Pinellas County Environmental Lands Division
2006: Back to the River, Inc., Iowa